Councilor-elect stays extra night behind jail bars
A technological problem with a jail video system kept Grand Junction City Councilor-elect Rick Brainard from appearing before a magistrate Sunday morning — meaning he’d spend an additional night in the Mesa County Jail.
Brainard — who won election last Tuesday with nearly 58 percent of the vote for the council’s at-large seat — was booked into jail Saturday morning on suspicion of misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and harassment.
People arrested over the weekend regularly appear before a magistrate via video on Sunday mornings.
But Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said that technical issues caused all of the approximately 17 cases — including Brainard’s — to be held over until 1:30 today.
“For whatever reason, (the equipment) was not working this morning,” Hautzinger said Sunday.
Despite an offer by jail staff to try and cobble together an alternate communication system, Hautzinger said he pressed to move the advisements to today so that all of the defendants could have “an adequate record” of their proceedings.
“(Brainard) probably would have gotten a (personal recognizance) bond and would have been out at 10 or 11 this morning,” Hautzinger said Sunday, assuming Brainard did not have a prior criminal history.
Brainard is now scheduled to appear before Judge Gretchen Larson at 1:30 today.
As to the technical set-up used for Sunday advisements — where defendants appear via video from the jail, and the prosecutor uses a microphone to communicate with them and the magistrate — Hautzinger said he could not recall another time in which the system failed. “Although we’ve had increasing problems with the cameras and microphones in the actual courtrooms,” he said.
System equipment is about 12 years old, Hautzinger said, “and slowly dying. It probably needs to be replaced.”
An arrest affidavit in Brainard’s case details how officers were called Saturday to his home on an assault report lodged by his live-in girlfriend of eight months.
She reported a physical altercation where Brainard allegedly pushed her several times, pulled her hair, and pinned her against a dresser.
When the woman later referred to Brainard with a vulgarity, he allegedly struck her on the right side of the face, according to police.
In addition to being a Grand Junction City Councilor-elect, Brainard is also vice president of business development at West Star Aviation.